View Full Version : The COOLEST thing I have ever HATED

11/22/2008, 09:36 PM
If anyone ever asks me, I would say: NEVER put a pistol shrimp in your reef tank. They are fascinating, amazing creatures and the goby relationship and activity is so cool. But they are Trouble with an extra emphasized, underlined capital T.

My tiger pistol is about big enough to fry up and dip in some butter for a tasty snack, he's been with me for 2.5 years now.

Here he is with his "oh, god ... what a beer gut" goby pal. (the goby snacks on bristle worms to retain that physique)

Here he is moving sand and supplying that fine continuous stream of particulate matter in to the water column so that the tank never looks clear:

A close up of those sleek hairy legs and more of the particulates that I love:

"Are you talking to me? Get closer and I will pinch your nose off!"

He can move a whole tablespoon of sand at a time, but the dummy pours it out over and over so that it falls right back in to his hole.

Here he demonstrates his skillful frag stealing/rock moving ability. He can carry rocks much bigger than himself and can drag things many times his own weight. This little guys has cost me $100's in frags that have gone in to his den, even though I thought they were secure, glued down four feet away.

I won't get rid of him, he has taught me some valuable lessons and survived two red bug treatments. But GRRRRRRRRRR, he sometimes knows how to push my buttons. ;) :D :lol:
Thanks for letting me share!

11/22/2008, 09:44 PM
Good photos :)

11/22/2008, 09:56 PM

11/22/2008, 10:06 PM
Those are some incredible photos. Great job. I love your Goby, he looks adorable.

11/22/2008, 10:34 PM
:lol: I feel your pain, my diamond goby does the same thing. Pulls sand out of his hole and dumps it right where it trickles back in again. Military training ;) keep digging holes, fill them up again, and redig the same hole :rolleye1: . Nice looking goby BTW , I've only had mine a year, he's a cool (but messy) character :D

11/22/2008, 10:43 PM
Excellent photos and narration. Good god that goby is fat :lol:

11/22/2008, 10:48 PM
even with the warnings you clearly describe and underline, i would love to have a pair in my tank. Such a great combo.

11/22/2008, 10:59 PM
I have a tiger pistol shrimp by himself. He does not really disturb the water column but he does still stuff mostly snail shells or live snails that walk out truimphantly after being dragged into the burrow.

11/22/2008, 11:04 PM
i totally agree with you, and i have 3 of them in my tank. i swear my pistol shrimp and decorator urchin are in on it together. the urchin picks up frags and drops them off, and the shrimp takes it and you never see it again. awesome post!

Pacific Reefs
11/22/2008, 11:34 PM
Awesome...makes me want a pair. Btw that goby is going to explode.

11/23/2008, 12:00 AM
The shrimp was able to undermine and topple a large rock in the tank so a couple of colonies of SPS were crashed right in to each other. It really is amazing how a 3in creature can be so destructive in 24 cubic feet of water.
If you do decide to keep one, be sure to keep him well supplied with pieces of rubble like the pile in the pictures. They are less likely to roam when they have a lot to play with. :lol:

I found a baby picture of fatty taken in may of 2006:

A shot of the theif and fatty in Nov of 2006, you can see he's already settled in to rotundity.

One day, I will catch a picture of him swimming about with a big bristle worm end flailing out of his mouth. I don't know how he can eat them!

11/23/2008, 04:19 AM
those guys are sweet!!

11/23/2008, 08:10 AM
cool pics! makes me want to get a pair

11/23/2008, 08:36 AM
too funny.... great pics

11/23/2008, 08:54 AM
What problems do you have in the reef because Im wanting to put mine in my new 75g.

11/23/2008, 09:10 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=13801129#post13801129 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by SWaquariast
What problems do you have in the reef because Im wanting to put mine in my new 75g.

- The shrimp will steal anything smaller than a racquetball and take it into his hole to support the walls of his den. This includes expensive acans, ricordeas, zoos, brains, fungia etc. He will take them from the sand and anything on a rock about 2-3 inches up. The more colorful and expensive, the further he will go to steal it. ;)

- He will drag much larger pieces around and can drag corals into other corals causes warfare and loss. See this vid for an example. This frogspawn was about 6 inches from his den when he started:

- If it is too big to move, he will just bury it with sand. Mine has killed a very large alveopora and echinopora with the bury it method. You can't keep ANY sand bed corals like plates, echinos, or clams. No place in the tank has been safe and my tank is 180 gallons.

- He will dig 2-3ft long trenches and stir up the sand so that there seems to be a little floaty haze in the tank all the time. I love how clear my water is when the lights first come one. Then he wakes up and starts his shift.

- He will gladly undermine all of the rock structure and cause rockslides. Make sure your rocks are firmly set all the way to the bottom of the tank and not just supported by sand.

- They will not necessarily pick a place to den where you can even see them at all. You will just hear the snaps. Mine closes the den every single night and relocates each day so I have to be on my toes to make sure there is enough rubble for him.

Is that enough reasons? :D
If I could catch the pair without totally demolishing the tank, I would move them to their own tank. Traps haven't worked.

I seriously enjoy the pair, and everyone - including my nieces - LOVE to find him when they come over. You were warned!

11/23/2008, 10:26 AM
I think that we quite often face a choice of keeping a critter that is interesting, yet has some other negative impact on the tank.

When faced with that choice, I always choose "interesting" over looks good. IOW, I would much rather watch your pistol shrimp activity than look at a tank that had perfectly clear water. Good choice!

11/23/2008, 11:56 AM
chase them into their burrow and use a 1 inch siphon hose to suck them out! I would leave them though- something else will become your next irritant- and these guys are pretty cool despite the hassle of haze. Maybe a magnum with a micron cartrige would help?

11/23/2008, 12:07 PM
Yea to me it seems like its always a battle of colorful vs interesting. So I eventually took out all of my hermit crabs as well as my angelfish. The colorfuls have never been happier.

11/23/2008, 12:18 PM
I have one of those tiger pistols---but it wasn't him stirring up the sand, it was my pump. I've replaced with medium grade aragonite. I do suspect him of doing in every mithrax crab I get, though the hermits seem to tolerate him. And I'm a little suspicious of him in the demise of one blenny, though i can't prove it. Mine is approaching pansized too.

11/23/2008, 12:52 PM
This tiger pistol did kill a clownfish in my tank. Their burrow came out from under a big rock with an RBTA on it. The clown was wriggling toward the edge of the anemone right as the shrimp came out of the hole just below and the shrimp snapped at the clown about 6 times rapidly. The clown was stunned and floated away upside down. The big female clown kept him in the anemone, but he only lasted about 2 more hours.
I don't think the shrimp will hunt the fish, or even ambush them. But they do have a seriously powerful defense mechanism.